afrow

Black Girl on the Front Row!

Category: PERFORMANCE

“Out With The Old”

 

Old narratives die hard.

They come for you,

swing at you,

swipe,

left and right,

without warning.

No greeting card.

They

merge and mutate

what is true,

until,

all that you know,

has become a false prophet.

The Ego bears down,

to give birth

to a self-centred mindset.

For sure,

to be bold, in the wisdom,

that

you must make time,

to get to know ‘you’,

is no crime.

But some storylines,

have no rhythm,

no rhyme,

no reason,

except, to

destroy, steal and kill,

what awaits,

in your pre-ordained Destiny.

No longer hissing,

they sidewind their way,

with a cunning depravity.

Just as you seek to be new,

old habits,

old narratives,

bind altogether,

to format a crew.

The cure,

to unlock and unblock

these insidious notions?

Stop feeding them.

Stop fuelling commotion.

For,

You are made from Higher Energy.

Born to vibrate

at a Superhuman frequency.

Therefore,

resist the negative tendencies..

Resist them all…

and they will,

most assuredly,

flee.

 

©A_F_R_O_W.2020.

All Rights Reserved.

“Minority”

I am not a “minority”

There is nothing

less than

about me.

No dictat

can diminish,

nor, dictate

my place in Humanity.

Walls of bureaucratic words,

can, neither, define,

nor suppress,

my vivacity.

No insidious mind-tricks,

attack-dogs,

of precepts, concepts,

outdated contexts,

can decry

my Divine Complexity.

For,

I am made,

esteemed,

wonderfully.

Higher Celestial Beings,

celebrate this progeny..

entrust in me,

their Heavenly Legacy.

There may be one definition of you,

but there’s an Eternal galaxy,

of me.

No matter what you try

to do,

or say,

you can never

compartmentalise

this woman,

this embodiment, in Soul,

who is Spirit,

therefore, whole…

I am not a number,

nor a minor chord,

I am Free.

I am Major.

I am Victory.

Indefatigable.

Undeniable.

Look me up.

You’ll find me.

I am,

Black. Bold. Beautiful.

… in the

Oxford English Dictionary.

 

© A_F_R_O_W.2020

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“All Dressed Up…”

All dressed up,

with Nowhere to go…

All made-up

and glamorous.

Though

I have no destination,

I’ll still meet me

at the station,

of my sofa…

Yes, my couch…

In my ballgown,

I shall slouch!

In my kitten heels,

I’ll purr…

Laced in scent,

that I prefer…

Drenched in jewellery

that shines,

as I’m dressed-up, to-the-nines…

Yes,

I’m ready for my close-up,

at all hours of the day…

Who needs ‘night-time’?

Who needs ‘going out’?

Indoors, I can still slay…

Inside, I am still ‘front row’…

Still ‘work it’, in repose…

Still elegant.

Still chilling out.

Red wine, champagne, who knows?!

For,

I am, fully, fabulous,

without the need to,

take the bus,

nor ride the train,

nor hail a cab…

No need to check my face,

nor dab

the maquillage, that I’ve applied,

for my house-do,

from the inside…

I’m glad I’m here…

No-one to see…

Content,

to be alone,

with me!!!

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2020 All Rights Reserved

“Inc-RED-ible BAFTAs!”

 

Enjoy the view…

… This recent encouragement had stuck in my spirit…

… remained suspended, until the opportunity for the right view, came along…

that being, a behind-the-scenes perspective of one of the most exciting nights of creative recognition, namely, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts Awards.

My view would begin at the Royal Festival Hall..

Sacred home to so many endeavours of artistry, from stage to screen… embracing space of the consummately classic and cutting-edge contemporary… sprawling venue for live, sonic experiences and intimate poetic expression. It is the epitome of an environment, which nurtures, both, the organic and site-specific nature of multidisciplinary invention…

… and, against the backdrop of a rich, aquamarine sky, backlit by piercing dawn sunrays, the milk-white hue of this hallowed building was, extraordinarily stunning.

Taking each step from Belvedere Road, a lively throng of fellow Arts-enthusiasts, was the chorus which greeted me… All in, animated, wait, anticipating a day which, as an observer, could not be planned for, simply, witnessed…

… and, as ever, my curiosity was piqued…

Who were they? Where had their respective journeys started? I had to dive in… and expeditiously learnt, that they hailed from Suffolk, on the 6.a.m. train… Essex, on the earliest train, possible… from all points, on the Central London compass, and beyond, by road and rail… and, like me, had a feeling that on this day, this place was the place to be.

Time seemed to decelerate…

… as if we were, now, suspended in our own BAFTA bubble… Hoardings had gone up, queues, were growing tails of eager-beaver, red-carpet connoisseurs and devotees of the stars, great and good, belonging to this wonder-world of the business called “show”..

… But who would, actually, show up, was still a mystery…

Revelations had been stoking the social-media engines and, on inquiring, as to whom the admirers would most love to see, it was a delight to hear that so many had come to support them all… although, after an eagle-eyed sweep of the clustering column, I did spot a number of tell-tale fan T-Shirts!

***

The sun had been steadily moving… as had the lines… The security, kindly, with the definitive air of authority, had kept us informed of entrance procedures and the Southbank, itself, had become a veritable hive of activity, with the Royal Festival Hall, the, unrivalled, Queen Bee…

Not only was the BAFTA buzz growing louder, by the second, not only were passing tourists approaching, to discover just, exactly, what the electric atmosphere was about, but whispers were becoming squeals of glee, when rumours became online confirmation, of attending A-Listers..

… For my part, the fashion was a distinct draw…

Gowns, from the extravagant to the excessive, were sure to make their appearances… Suits, from the understated, to the uber-o.t.t, would, most certainly, demand airtime… From up-do’s through tutu’s, slick-backs, to short-back and sides.. I was about the glamour, dahhhh-ling and I wasn’t going home, without it!

… And, before we knew it, the moment had come, to be the preliminary steppers upon the tapis rouge! Around the corner, ensconced by BAFTA-emblazoned hoardings, we made like legends-in-our-own-lunchtimes, into designated audience areas… and so began one of the most intense rollercoaster rides, in my living memory!

In a heartbeat, talk began, as to the best vantage point for selfies, the best arm position for selfies, how to lean and get your best side… for selfies… Followed by, from which direction the guests would come… then, how to get the full autograph-album completed, how to get an artist’s attention… There was serious strategy… and I was bowled-over… because, you couldn’t plan for this sort of day… or could you?!!

… From that point on, I observed..

I took it all in…

… and re-ran what had just transpired, to even arrive in the viewing gallery…

We had walked past the Press area, opposite, which was ready for representatives of allotted broadcasting outlets… Looking upwards, were 360-degree cameras, lids down, waiting to wake, and rapidly, blink-to-attention, at the celebrity procession, which would, first, be met by the beat of the step-and-repeat.. and, of course, the prestige courtesy-car, arrival area… which would be the last port-of-call, for last-minute wardrobe adjustments and last-minute calm, before the inevitable screaming-storm!

At the sun’s zenith, they streamed in, as it streamed down… and the V.I.P-count did not disappoint… U.K. to U.S., they hailed… From, soap, to stage, to big-screen… from daytime, to night-time, they adorned the red-carpet and, to be frank, were adored, by the most earsplitting meet-and-greet welcomes, I have, ever, heard!

Presenters, were mic’d-up and ready to go..

… as homegrown casts appeared, in speedy succession… and the dawn chorus began to call a who’s-who of names… and the, now-perfected selfie poses, were editorials-in-action..

… and we waited.. and, mesmerised, I kept watching..

Who would be next?

Well, for future reference, to be acquainted with the language of “loud-screaming”, is advisable, as the higher-pitched, the more desired, the Artist… Until it all becomes one, continual, collective cry… because, everyone wants to see, be seen and be pictured with, well, everyone

… and, who could argue with such passion, when, like a rushing river, global names approached, so graciously, to oblige, to the, mountingly, fevered requests (returning, in some cases, often, more than once, twice and, even, thrice)…  not because the sun was a-blaze, but because the red-carpet was a-flame, with fame!

Oh… and how the style-files were overflowing, in my phone and my mind!

… And how my wishes were, beyond, fulfilled…

From home-made, billowing, bin-liner couture, embellished with wrappers, to jewel-toned robes, luxurious layers of exquisitely embroidered and crystal-encrusted attire, to magnificently, cut-to-fit bespoke, black-tie brilliance, which was the most… it’s safe to say that the stars had fallen out of the sky, had, elegantly, landed in London and entirely outshone the sun!

… This undulation of emotional crescendo, only became diminuendo, when all of the glitterati had been whisked away, inside the Hall, for a night to remember…

… and, as dusk fell, outside, I absorbed my red-carpet moments and smiled..

… because they might not have been BAFTAs, but they were my prized souvenirs, of a day, about which, I shall not, soon, forget!

 

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2019. All Rights Reserved.

“Springtime Fun-In-The-Sun… Vegas-Style!!”

 

I’m not a bit mad at it, friends…

… a smoked salmon, champagne brunch, at the “Caviar House and Prunier”, accompanied by cheery, if, somewhat sporadic, conversation with fellow diners, in transit, via Heathrow Terminal 3, to global destinations…. with the occasional gawp at the latest offerings of high-end chic, from Louis Vuitton…

…. Nope, I’m not averse to it at all!

In fact, if you were to take the very same letters from, arguably, the most famous acronym in fashion, you’d have a clue as to my own point of disembarkation…

… which, has become my landing location, of choice, on three occasions, since last November…

… Getting warmer?

We-l-l-ll…

…  it has a “Strip” and…. more hotelier options than you can shake a stick at… and secures the hottest performers in the music world…

Yes.. you’ve got it!

Lovely Las Vegas was calling me back to its eclecticisms and idiosyncratic party culture… and this time, I was going to get a lot warmer… Say, 80 degrees, warmer!

… But these days, when the Time-Space continuum is in conjunction… and offers up a week of poolside-living and distinctive style-stories… how can one deign to reject such potential for adventure?!

The answer is, one simply cannot!

… Oh and there might, just, have been the opportunity to celebrate life in, quite, the most glamorous front-row mosh pit in town… Otherwise known as “losing yourself” to the swingin’-est sounds, at the, one and only, “Matt Goss Experience”, within the sassy surrounds of “1OAK Nightclub”, enveloped by the “Grande Dâme” of venues, “The Mirage Hotel”!

Yes…

…  that might, indeed, have alleviated the extensive airtime… although, I was probably the most excited, yet, to be heading back into the arms of my best-loved recreational hot-spot, for an impromptu hug!

Until then…

 I do not succumb to the, deceptively, time-consuming temptation, of purchasing Duty Free…

Rather, I am as focussed as possible, in order to enjoy every other element of my experience (as always)… and, rather expeditiously, am settling into my home-for-the-day… A red-and-white liveried Virgin Atlantic plane (entitled “Lady Freedom”, no less!)… spanning reminiscent listening-sessions of Jeff Buckley’s intensely-moving masterpiece, “Grace”, through to my chosen touchdown tunes, served up by the irrepressible futuristic-disco of Daft Punk… interspersed by power-naps and nourishment, as only the “Branson Brigade” can, so expertly, and elegantly, provide.

I also checked-in with the flight tracker, but needn’t have bothered, since, as we drew ever closer to Nevada, the cabin temperature took a distinct upturn, like the curve of a smile upon the face of someone who has a delicious secret, nestling on the tip of their tongue…

… and, before we knew it, the Time-Space continuum had transported us, to a new Destiny-moment… to make new discoveries, in the awaiting, ensuing days of ensuites and lively beats…

… and what a treat it was!!

Firstly, having dressed for the inclement weather which I’d left behind (i.e. layered in Zara Knitwear, M & S tweed trousers and Julien McDonald biker jacket, etc. etc.), the air con-infused limo ride was an entire blessing!

Then, in keeping with the, seeming, multi-dimensional convergence, a speedy arrivals desk, saw myself and luggage, whisked away in an, equally, expedient elevator, into a newly laid-out, ever more spacious, dwelling, overlooking the expansive pool area, which was soon to be my next stop.. after a freshen-up… and another power-nap…

… which was never going to work when, engrossed by CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris – “#LetsGetAfterIt” – Cuomo, as I arose, in time for the pool to be closed and the restaurants to have been open, for their first and second sittings!

… Yet, the anticipation for my mini outdoor excursion, in search of the perfect placement, for the girl-about-town, writing situation, was not wasted on one, such as I… Assuredly not! … Neither was my beloved shrimp pasta, with the creamiest of sauces, well-accompanied by bubbles, of the soda-pop kind!

At which point, the secret smile was, altogether, mine!

… As was “The Dolphin Bar”, which, for me, was the ultimate setting, for cooling shade on the one side and sizzling sun-trap on the other… and with a waterfall, gently caressing the air, with trickling sound and guests, close by, in deep relaxation or laugh-out-loud revelry… I couldn’t have asked for better…

except, for the über-cool tracksuits that The Mirage servers were sporting… which were not available, thus remaining exclusive and even more desirable! However, a little multi-coloured batwing top from French Connection, matching coral plissé skirt, with high-low hem and black flip-flops, were my delight… A 70’s throwback and precursor to some Halston Heritage couture, hanging in the closet, to be debuted at a later date… I thank you!!!

Ice-cool beverage and poolside stroll later, I was fuelled for more exploring…

To Las Vegas Boulevard!!! To “The Fashion Show Mall”!!!

To “The Pinto Ranch … an absolute find, for those who adore the outdoor lifestyle and its complementary accoutrements… which, within two days, with the minimum of fuss, under the sagesse and adaptability of store supervisor, Greg, became an educational outlet and morphed into a “Country Music Awards” hang-out for shoppers and browsers, alike!

What I did not fork out for in Duty Free, I more than made up for in the acquisition of some wonderfully unique gifts, which made me look like I came straight out of Southfork… (I’m talkin’ cowboy hat, my darlins.. and then, some)!

How I loved the onslaught of action!!!

Learning more about traditional creative design processes, talking vinyl with “DJ After School Special” and his fabulously fashion-forward manager (and twin brother!), being drowned-out by cars, screaming sonic Morse code, via their horns, using skywalks to cross roads and enter other hotels, like the impeccable, “Venetian”… comparatively quieter, until reverberant opera singing shook the soundwaves of the brain to life… and all in micro-minutes!!!

I, mean, I absolutely, loved it!!!

… Oh, and, what was I not, dear friends?… I was not mad at it, at all… not even a bit perturbed, in the slightest!

I was in Vegaswanted more… and more is exactly what I got

… namely, on Sunday night, for the, now weekly, major Matt Goss show!

Further inspired by my 70’s mood, I went all-out “Studio 54”, honey… All regal, royal blue, backless, halter-neck, jumpsuit joy, golden platform-shoe’d goodness and accordant cobalt, beaming Biba accessories… with a snazzy, ladder-link necklace… and, did I mention, a certain dalliance with “bareMinerals” glitter eyeshadow in “Twilight” and “Hot Commodity” highlighter, and luscious “Sleek” lip gloss… for day-y-y-ys?!!!

Oh, yes, friends, it was, categorically, on… and I was ecstatic with it all!

…. And. What. A. Show!!!

… No matter, how many times, you see it, hear it, experience it… the undeniable force, that is Mr Matt Goss, himself, somehow manages to upstage existence and smash the living daylights out of every moment, regardless of the vocal dynamic of any song, or any time signature!

This is his playground… his artistic vortex in which he, politely, yet, no less insistently, demands you let loose… and it takes no time at all for the whole room to, willingly, yield…

In fact, it gets sweaty, it gets rowdy, it takes a great, big, bite out of life and, quite frankly, is the only show which seems to be a Time-Space Continuum, all of its own

… a fitting reward for going boldly, and a perfect vault for priceless memories…

… which, along with the turquoise-blue skies, that greeted me upon my return to lovely London, are exactly what I shall treasure…

… until the next clarion call upon dreamy desert winds, hails me back unto the sweet heartbeat of the Nevada Valley…

… and, do you know, what?

I’ll be truly glad, not a tad mad of that, friends…

not at all!!

 

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2019. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

“Valentines In Vegas!!!”

 

You know that Valentine’s Week in Vegas is going to be something rather special…

 

especially special, when, through lively conversation, you find that you are seated next to a heartwarming couple, who have been married for 35 years, called Mr and Mrs Truelove!

 

I kid you not, dear friends!

 

Yes, yours truly, was back, for the third thrilling installment in her Vegas Trilogy… returning to the Love capital of the world… only rivalled, some might say, by the romance of a Paris, at night..

 

“So, what was the story this time?” I hear you enquire…

 

Well… it was all about the Lo-o-o-o-o-ve..

… and if there is anyone who knows how to live their Purpose for just that reason, it’s Mr. Matt Goss..

 

By now, we’ve discovered how, simply exceptional, he is, both, as an Artist and, a deeply, delightful human being.

You already know about his refinement and elegance of style and substance… You also know that, whether solo, or with his immensely-talented brother, Luke, he is consistently turning doubters into, all-out believers, in the supreme gifts which have him flying high, within the Creative Arts Industry and the wider Creative Community.

 

So…

… season by season, (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas and now Valentine’s), I have had the distinct blessing of jetting off, into the wide blue yonder of the Vegas skyline, landing at my beloved “Mirage”, elevated to the dizzying heights of the 22nd floor and living-the-(somewhat uexpected)-dream, of all that such transatlantic back-and-forth entails, in order to chart the course and share the joy of this, eminently fascinating, performer’s artistic evolution!

From arrival-Sunday, which saw a two-tone Goss, regaling the “silver foxes” in the room, through to the following Sunday, in which his own homage to silver-grey styling, accentuated his striking blonde-haired, blue-eyed charm, my week was glazed with ever-slicker performances by the fêted “new King of Vegas”… crowned by the Valentine’s event-of-events, on that, most memorable, night-of-nights…

 

and it was everything!!!!!

 

Sultry, sassy, super-humorous, super-glamorous… peppering the audience, with infectious geniality.. it was undeniably glossy-Gossy, at his undeniable best.

 

To me, more than I’d ever felt it, “1 OAK” was the beating pulse of Nevada…

Whether front row, or booth-bound, the room was replete with revellers who were ready for a steaming hot time…and the show was, accordingly, sizzling…

With no room to lounge in this buzzing bar, the strawberry-strewn, speakeasy space absolutely rocked to the pace of Matt’s adrenalin-fuelled style and a band which, were they any tighter, would have split their, metaphorical, musical seams!

In fact, the duration of the evening was seamless showbiz, par excellence, and we were all with him for the ride… Quite frankly, the swoon-to-croon ratio was ten thousand-a-penny and the power of expression, although effortless in groove, was pure, no-holds-barred effort, in his driving delivery.

 

With more seasoned skits and ska turns, which were te-riff-ic, the general concensus which revolved around the room as this Vegas showpiece progressed, was that this was, categorically, the most impressive that anyone had, yet, seen of Goss… Indeed, I had the privelege of engaging from many vantage points, ergo, sitting in the company of many first-timers, all, of whom, commented on just how consummate a performer Matt was… and how, clearly, he was becoming the quintessential benchmark for any type of entertainment offering, let alone a, consistently, sell-out Vegas residency…

…which is quite the most discernible thing… in that, Matt neither rests upon his laurels,  rather, curating his work, as if presenting a room of unique, sonic sketches.. Nor does he take a moment of this opportunity for granted… In fact, he frequently takes time out to share just how aware he is, of the collective support which has facilitated his sustained success… and it is always stated with touching sincerity, as truly humbling to feel, as it is genuinely received, by all who hear.

 

…And the best is yet to come…

 

… for the dedication to fashioning his vocation into one type of musical masterpiece, has dovetailed into another, destined for Broadway and West End stages, having finished a, much-anticipated, adaptation of U.K. television classic, “Upstairs, Downstairs”, in collaboration with Grammy-nominated Composer, Arranger and Producer, Stephen Endelman…

… and award nods and accolades will, undoubtedly, follow for this burgeoning Impressario, Radio Presenter, Fine Artist… not least, the celebration of the 10-year Vegas milestone, of a man who rises to every challenge in such a way, as to engender wonderment, of whether there is anything Matt Goss cannot do!

 

In the opinion of one whom has arrived to the party a wee bit later than most, but who knows a bit about the whys and wherefores of stage-life, you’d be hardpressed to find a better example of such a wholly-committed Creative, anywhere upon the globe!

 

With that being said, it’s clear to see why everyone who joins Matt’s journey wants to stick with this first-rate fella, no matter which creative room he goes into… but it won’t be luck that sees him continue to conquer ever-greater territory, it will be unequivocal, unquestionable talent… the type which is indefatigable and endures, long after the venue lights go dark!!!

 

 

©A_F_R_O_W2019. All Rights Reserved

***

 

Don’t miss Matt Goss at “The Mirage”, Las Vegas!

@TheMirageLV  ~  @MattGoss

 

Don’t miss BROS at:-

“The O2 Academy Brixton”: July 5th 2019!

@O2academybrix

 

“Live At The Marquee”, Cork: 26th June 2019!

@LATMofficial

 

“Botanic Gardens, Belfast”: 27th June 2019!